It's not everyday that you get to start on the ground floor with the head of a company and touch base from time to time to see how he's doing; and how his plans are unfolding. We started our conversation with Doug Rehor, the new head of McCormick USA, during the Farm Progress Show last year and last week he wanted to sit down to talk again at the National Farm Machinery Show.
In our first conversation, Doug talked about how he was going to take some off-the-shelf sales management software and put some new controls and management to this company that's been marketing tractors here since 2001. So how's it going?
Rehor is rightfully proud of his progress so far. "We're using Salesforce.com in the Ask Cyrus approach," he says. "I can track every conversation and transaction in the company, analyze parts and sales and we know what's going on here."
Now why would someone want to do that? Turns out using this system, Rehor and his management team can make sure dealers get the support they need. Got a part that's on back-order? Rehor and his parts guru know it and work hard to fill the order. Want an idea of which dealers are selling and which aren't? Rehor can figure that out too.
Without going into too much detail about software that doesn't directly impact farmers, you'll find that you are impacted by how responsive your dealer can be if you need something for that McCormick you bought awhile back. And if you're looking at the brand for a replacement machine, the dealer you work with will be more responsible too.
Doug Rehor, head of McCormick USA, shows off his multi-platform software that allows him to manage the company. Note the same information shows up on the computer (left) the iPad and the smart phone. It's that kind of interactivity he thinks can help McCormick be more responsive to the dealers it supports.
There are a lot of analogies put to use in describing what it takes to get, or keep, a company on the right track. Rehor found some things that were working and some things that weren't and he has been empowered to fix them. He's retooled the management team and he's instituted this new software backbone. And he lucked into something else - the folks at Salesforce.com fired up a new tool - Chatter.com - that's like Facebook for a business.
"I thought Chatter would be a fad, but our people took to it right away, in fact they can carry on conversations about key topics inside that tool and comments can be shared across the company," he notes. This higher level of interactivity should make a difference too.
Of course, there are still dealer changes coming and Rehor continues to work through that transition. However he says those that are on board and getting up to speed with Ask Cyrus see the value of the tool and it's helping McCormick USA sell and service equipment.
"I can see the changes taking place and we're making things happen," he says. "Of course, you have to check back with me in a year to see where we are, but I'm optimistic."
Today's market may give McCormick the "cover" it needs to get it's market moving forward toward profitability. New X-series tractors from Daedong in Korea (the same company that makes tractors for Kioti Tractor) have entered the line for 2011 and he's happy with the selection of machines from 25 to 91 engine horsepower. "These are going to be great machines for us," Rehor says.
Rehor, who has been in the farm equipment business with major companies for some time, is surprised how he can affect change in this smaller shortline tractor marketer. Implementing the Web-based Salesforce.com tool in Ask Cyrus helps too. We'll check back with Doug again in a few months to check on progress.